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California State Parks

USA Parks
Southern California Region
Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area
Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area © Dewese Milstead
Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area © Dewese Milstead
Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area
Thousand Oaks, California   91360
Santa Monica Mountains rise above Los Angeles, widen to meet the curve of Santa Monica Bay and reach their highest peaks facing the ocean, forming a beautiful and multi-faceted landscape. Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area is a cooperative effort that joins federal, state and local park agencies with private preserves and landowners to protect the natural and cultural resources of this transverse mountain range and seashore. Located in a Mediterranean ecosystem, the Santa Monica Mountains contain a wide variety of plants and wildlife. The mountains also have an interesting and diverse cultural history which begins with the Chumash and Gabrielino/Tongva peoples and continues today in "L.A.'s backyard." You may contact us at our Visitor Center:(805) 370-2301.
 Hiking Trailyes
Are you searching for a quick and affordable weekend getaway? Your vacation destination may be closer than you think. Just a short drive from Los Angeles, Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area offers many opportunities to shake off the stresses of city life and immerse yourself in the beauty of nature.

From Topanga State Park to Point Mugu State Park, there are a variety of campgrounds for you to enjoy. Night may find you stargazing deep within a sage-scented canyon, or listening as the waves break against the sandy shore. Savor the peace and solitude on your own, or share the fun of camping with family and friends.

When you go camping in the park, please observe the following safety tips and regulations:

Fires are prohibited except in designated areas. Because fire regulations may vary for each campground, please contact the specific park.

Dogs are generally allowed on National Park campgrounds and trails if on a leash (6 feet maximum). At state parks, dogs are permitted only in campgrounds and picnic areas, and on certain beaches where specified.

Natural and historic features (such as flowers, rocks or artifacts) are protected by law and may not be collected or damaged.

Wood gathering or collecting is not allowed.

Bring plenty of food and water. (Water from streams is not safe to drink!)

Learn to recognize and avoid poison oak, rattlesnakes and bees. Guard yourself against ticks by wearing long sleeves, long pants and light colors.

Dress appropriately for variable weather conditions and be prepared for minor emergencies. Bring a first aid kit, flashlight and extra clothes.

Take care of your trash. Use disposal facilities on site, or pack out what you pack in.

Nature Programs
Junior Ranger Program:

Weaving Cultures: A Junior Ranger Program is for children between the ages of 8 and 13. Although, visitors of all ages are invited to participate. Junior Rangers get a workbook on the past and present Chumash living in the Santa Monica Mountains. After completing three sections of the book, they are awarded a Junior Ranger sew-on patch.

Junior Rangers who want to continue in the program can add three more levels to their patch by earning Ocean, Valley, and Mountain Junior Ranger pins. Junior Rangers earn their pins by going to programs listed in the Outdoors Calendar of Events.

After earning all three pins, the Junior Ranger becomes a Mountain Junior Ranger. Mountain Junior Rangers will be invited to programs especially designed for them.
Area Attractions

Satwiwa Native American Indian Culture Center, Open All Year 9am-5pm (Saturday and Sunday). Phone: 805-375-1930.

Closures: Closed weekdays and on federal holidays.

Special Programs : Look in the Outdoors Calendar for program announcements.


Satwiwa is a celebration of Native American Cultures. An exhibit on the Chumash is enhanced by available video programs, as well as workshops and programs presented by Native American Guest Hosts. A small garden gives visitors an opportunity to see a variety of native plants. Rangers are available for questions about the history, culture, and local trails.

Other Nearby Attractions:

National Park Service Areas:

Channel Islands National Park, 24.9 miles.

Cabrillo National Monument, 174.4 miles.

Joshua Tree National Park, 185.4, miles.

Griffith Park, (213)664-1191, 24 miles.

Getty Museum, (310) 440-7300, 15 miles.

Disneyland, (714) 781-4560, 52 miles.

Hollywood, (213) 469-8311, 20 miles.

Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews

Area Campgrounds
Malibu Beach RV Park
25801 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, CA

Plane - Nearby Airports include the Los Angeles International Airport and the Hollywood/Burbank Airport.

Car - The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area is located west of Griffith Park in Los Angeles County and to the east of the Oxnard Plain in Ventura County. U.S. Highway 101 (Ventura Freeway) borders the mountains on the north, and State Highway 1 (Pacific Coast Highway) and the Pacific Ocean form the southern boundary. Access to most park areas is available via many roads that cross the mountains between these two major highways. A portion of the park also stretches into the Simi Hills, north of U.S. Highway 101.

The National Park Service Visitor Center is located at 401 West Hillcrest Drive in Thousand Oaks, California.

From Ventura Freeway (U. S. Highway 101) to Lynn Rd turn north on Lynn road turn east (right) on Hillcrest Drive left onto McCloud Ave. First driveway on the right.

If you are going South on the 23 Freeway, exit at the Thousand Oaks Blvd/ Hillcrest Drive exit go west or right onto Hillcrest and turn right onto McCloud.

Public Transportation - Public Transportation is available through: Thousand Oaks Transit (800) 438-1112 in Thousand Oaks and Vista in Ventura County.


California State Parks